Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

October 28, 2012

An Open Letter to IndyCar, IMS and The People Calling The Shots

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:29 pm

IndyCar Business Plan

I understand you have a bottom line and that you want to operate all of your businesses is the black. None of that will ever happen if you do not cultivate and nurture existing and potential customers who will purchase your product. It does not take the Boston Consulting Group to tell you that. The facts that speak most loudly involve racing fans that have simply stopped showing up for races and watching them on television. Over the long history of open wheel racing and particularly since the late 1970s the consistent and abject stupidity of the collective dysfunctional ‘leadership’ of the sport has now managed to alienate the last possible group of dedicated (and money spending) racing fans.

I do not know why you have separated with Randy Bernard. It is the sincere hope of those of us who still care that you will offer fans who have remained loyal despite an incredible amount of abuse

So Long, Breath of Fresh Air

some sort of explanation that does not involve buzzwords, lip service jargon, arrogance or most likely the deafening silence that usually accompanies decisions that seem to defy any form of common sense.

In Randy Bernard you had an enthusiastic outsider widely known as a tireless, driven individual bent on taking IndyCar to high levels never previously imagined. Given the mess he was handed along with the encumbrances that characterize working with the IMS collective, I believe his performance was spectacular, and his five year mission is unfinished. Instead we have another logic-defying change at the top with no explanation. I really admired his fresh, outside point of view and aggressive moves to move the sport back to the mainstream, regardless of toes (or egos) that may have been stepped on along the way.

What have you accomplished instead? A regressive public relations nightmare from which you may now never recover. Your actions are consistently disgraceful. Loyal racing fans simply do not deserve such abuse.

It is my hope that you fully explain this action and what led to this decision. It is fair to say that the very future of the sport absolutely depends on it. It really does not matter what the reason is, whether it is owner pressure, internal infighting, manufacturer pressure or whatever. Explain yourselves for once. We can handle it. If you do not begin treating the people that keep you in business with simple respect the only thing you can reasonably expect is a lot more shiny aluminum and test pattern level television ratings.

Why do you people make it so difficult for average people to just be fans?



  1. I don’t think I could add a single word to what you’ve said above. Well, I’m here, and I’m pissed off, so here goes: with just 31 months in office, Randy Bernard took an organization that was taking on losses of high 7- to possibly even 8-figures per year (from every single account I’ve ever heard), and this year got to within one canceled race of breaking even (a high risk, but equally high reward proposition, one that I can not fault the man for trying, since we got races at Milwaukee and a couple other places in the balance). And that was in the face of constant owner revolt (over something so petty as being gouged a few hundred thousand dollars on the first new cars and components that anybody’s had to pay for in 4+ years) and even during a time of dismal TV ratings (largely caused, IMO, by spending 75% of the season on a channel that most Americans either don’t get or don’t know they have). If Randy was as close to breaking even with all of that being the case, I just don’t understand who thinks they are going to do a better job. Or who the IMS board thinks is going to do a better job. Meanwhile, the car that Randy (and basically Randy alone) pushed for (at the stong behest of the fans, though, mind you) allowed for the most competitive season of racing that I can remember since, well, I don’t know, but it certainly ranks up in the top-5 seasons since I started following in 1991.

    So, yes, shame on Randy. For what, I don’t know. By all means, scape goat the guy for something or other, because he’s been the only leader of American Open Wheel Racing during my entire fandom who ever came out and showed that he gave even one single crap about the fans. Meanwhile, the rest of us, all of us, get a single digit from the powers that be on the IMS board. And it is not the digit that is telling us that we are #1. It is the digit that tells us all that we come in dead last.

    There better be a real, real good reason for this, and a real, real talented successor lined up. Or else my IndyCar fandom will not last to the end of June 2013. If what we get is another “take care of the fans whenever we think of it”/”available once per year for TV interviews, whenever my ego allows me to stoop to such a level” leader, I’ll probably make my trip to Indy this coming May, since my tickets are paid for, and pay my last respects. I’ve got better things to do with my life.

    Comment by The Speedgeek — October 29, 2012 @ 12:48 am | Reply

  2. bernard brought a lot to the table, including transparency. it seems now–t.g. or not–that Indycar is returning to the days where information was guarded from the public.

    if they fired bernard without a real good idea of his replacement, then they’re not very smart.

    Comment by redcar — October 29, 2012 @ 4:58 am | Reply

  3. So, IndyCar dumps on the fans again and they drop the news right as a Massive storm is about to hit the USA. Maybe they thought no one would notice between watching Football and getting ready for Sandy, but IMS and the Board have never shown any regard to the fans of IndyCar. Much like two bit dictators that show disdain to it’s people, the Hulman George Family and it’s cronies have never understood the key element of a successful series and that is it’s fans. Looking down on them via high in Terra Haute, they are insulated from the rabble that they profess to care for. They open their home once a year, much like the nobility did in times of yore , to show the peasants their largess, but retreat back to their mansion’s afterwards, so as not to be infected by the common man. Out of touch and convinced that the Indy 500 is the only thing that matters, they bristled that Randy had the idea to build a viable series for the common man. The idea that the 500 would only be a part of a greater vision was blasphemy to the zealots. With a long term plan to expand the series past twenty races, Randy needed to be stop before the dream of a successful series that would be bigger in totality then the 500 was achieved. The family doesn’t care about the series, they care about one race. With fans lining up to pay homage to them once a year, what do they care about us. Let them eat cake.

    Comment by Brian from NY — October 29, 2012 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  4. I’m speechless. He has moved IndyCar forward in such a short period of time and really put the emphasis on “It’s the fans”. I even got an email reply from him at one point this season when I asked a question and gave him support.
    I feel like I’m eating a shit sandwich and keep returning for more.

    Comment by TonyD — October 29, 2012 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

    • If moving IndyCar to street circuits and road courses, leaving many of the best oval tracks in America on bad terms with their ownership, getting 1 or 2 races a year other than Indy on one of the “Big 3” networks, doing nothing to curb the downhill spiral in popularity of the sport and being unable to control the idiot owners is considered a success, then, yes, Randy, did his job.

      Comment by spreadoption — October 29, 2012 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

      • Can’t argue with that.

        Comment by Bob F. — October 30, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  5. “This is the best silly season in history.”

    Comment by you can call me pac man — October 30, 2012 @ 1:29 am | Reply

  6. You spend so much time bloviating about external hatred of the series that you’ve totally ignored the rotting of that Indy carcass from within. And you still naively ask WHY?
    Editor’s Note: I see your youthful defensiveness is intact, not to mention your obsessed hatred of all things Indy. The only thing about which I ask ‘why’ involves delinquents unable to let go acting like three year olds.

    Comment by Goron Liddy — October 30, 2012 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

    • You don’t want solutions to “why”, do you? You should never ask the question then. It’s always been the same since old man Hulman died. No vision, nothing but money grabs by the kids and grandkids. The status quo you support is why it sucks and is the answer to your question. Truth hurts, doesn’t it?
      Editor’s Note: As usual, your complete lack of sense is typified (and clouded) by irrational hatred of a family. The real problem since the late 1970s is one coup de etat attempt after another by mostly self interested mutineers. The dismissal of Bernard is indicative of that mentality. You’re welcome.

      Comment by Goron Liddy — October 31, 2012 @ 4:47 pm | Reply

  7. Ah, for the good ‘ol days of USAC. Never thought I’d miss it, but at least it lasted twenty-two years before everything unraveled. Too bad we don’t have somebody of Tony Hulman’s steadiness and firm-handedness to run this series anymore.

    Comment by DOUG — October 31, 2012 @ 3:08 pm | Reply

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